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November 17, 2003 Tape #022

The White County Drainage Board convened at 10:30 A.M. EST in the Commissioners’ Room of the White County Building, Monticello, Indiana with Board Members Ronald A. Schmierer, John C. Heimlich and O. D. Ferguson, Attorney George W. Loy, Surveyor Dennis W. Sterrett and Secretary Romana Kiser in attendance.

Others attending were Charles Mellon, Jim Sharp and Greg Jacobs.

Chairman Schmierer opened the Maintenance Modification Hearing on the Earl A. Diener Drain in Union and Honey Creek Townships.

Chairman Schmierer referred to the Claims History information and read from the Surveyor’s information sheet: At the present time the Earl Diener Drain maintenance brings in $1,099.00 a year, is in debt $3,145.42 and there are 1,243.168 benefited acres. There are 58 parcels, of which 14 are small parcels or lots. At present the drain is on a variable rate. If we put it on a flat rate of $2.00 an acre and $10.00 minimum or small parcels it would bring in $2,572.68 a year and the debt will be paid off in approximately one and a half years. It we raised the maintenance by fifty percent, it would take two years to pay the debt. Board Member Heimlich said raising it fifty percent would still leave it on a variable rate.

Chairman Schmierer recognized Jim Sharp who asked where the money has been spent on the drain and what the reason was for wanting to raise the maintenance. Board Member Heimlich gave Mr. Sharp his copy of the last three years Claims History/Information sheet. Chairman Schmierer answered that the drain is in debt $3,145.42 and that we have spent that much more on it than we have taken in. He stated that the law says we have to go to work and get them out of debt. Chairman Schmierer explained, “In May of 2000 we spent a big bunch of money on Charles Geier’s farm, $3,304.48 and then we sprayed it and that was $1,540.00. Then in December 2001 dipped out Branch 2 at Diener Brothers. You have had a lot of small tile repairs. In November of 2002 replaced sixty foot of tile for $1,642.00. That was the biggest expenses. You can see where it has been spent though.

Jim Sharp said the repairs must have been on the upper end because nothing has been done down on his end. Surveyor Sterrett said, “We had some done on Division Road. Jim Sharp said that is on the upper end. Chairman Schmierer said, “Schroeder’s farm had a pretty good size washout, Charles Geier farm, Bailey’s property, Diener Brothers, Bailey’s again.” Jim Sharp asked if that was on the extension, part of it goes west and part of it goes south. Board Member Heimlich said that there are branches. Surveyor Sterrett told Mr. Sharp there is a map attached to the information sheet he has. Surveyor Sterrett showed him where a lot of it was spent down off of Division Road near the railroad tracks on Bailey property.

Surveyor reminded the Board that this is the Hearing, we already set rates at $2.00 an acre and $10.00 a lot or small parcel.

Chairman Schmierer read the ADOPTION OF MAINTENANCE MODIFICATION FROM INDIANA CODE §36-9-27-42, “The White County Drainage Board having heard and considered all of the evidence and any objections submitted in these proceedings, the Chairman would now consider a motion finding that the current estimate of maintaining the Earl A. Diener Drain in Union and Honey Creek Townships is insufficient and that therefore the annual assessments for periodic maintenance of said drain should be increased as proposed in these proceedings to $2.00 and acre and $10.00 per lot, small tracts and minimum.” Board Member Heimlich so moved. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The vote was taken. “The White County Drainage Board by a vote of 3 in favor and 0 opposed now hereby adopts the Schedule of Modified Assessments as originally filed herein. The White County Drainage Board issues its written Findings and Order declaring the proposed maintenance modification schedule in these proceedings established. A copy of which will be mailed to all owners affected. Meeting Adjourned.”

Board Member Heimlich opened discussion on the cleanout of the Kleyla Branch of the Esther Fraser Drain in Honey Creek Township and Reynolds, Indiana. Board Member Heimlich stated, “Denny and I first met about a year and a half ago with Jack Isom. Actually Arnie Dahlenburg had contacted us, he’s the tenant on quite a bit of the ground, and said that Mr. Isom wanted to clean out the ditch on his own. When we met with Mr. Isom and explained how that would work he was a little more interested in who else might be helping to pay for that. So we explained to him how that would work, I think I looked at the assessment roll at that time and quite a bit of the Town of Reynolds is on that assessment roll for that ditch.”

Board Member Ferguson asked if this is the drain that goes through the old sale barn south of town. Board Member Heimlich explained, “Actually it starts there at Division Road by the Excel Co-op elevator, that’s where the open ditch starts. It goes across the railroad and Highway 43 through the Sale Barn (now Isom’s) and then it turns north there by the Country Crossroads. It comes in through there and goes north and then turns west again and empties into the Esther Fraser Ditch.”

Chairman Schmierer said, “Primarily what you are wanting to clean is on Isom’s property.” Board Member Heimlich said, “Right, because from Highway 24 on, see that’s been filled in, I’m not sure when that was done but there is a stretch of it filled in and tiled through part of it through town there and then it becomes open ditch again. What he is wanting to clean is back south of Highway 24. So, he wanted to talk to us again and we went out there about a month ago. I think from the discussion he is still willing to dig it out on his own, but he wanted some help with the clearing. He wanted to know if the County could at least help on the clearing. As I thought about it, there is maintenance money in there that could be used for the clearing. I guess as I thought more about it afterwards, you can’t just say we’ll pay you for the clearing and you go ahead and dig it. If it is County money going to be involved in the clearing then we would have to open it up for at least for quotes. It would have to be some kind of competitive project, but I guess I would think that could be done. If he quoted it and was the low quote, or even if he wasn’t, somebody else could do the brushing. It would be gone and he could do the digging on his own then if he wanted to.”

Surveyor Sterrett said he thought they had about 2,000 feet of brush written down. Chairman Schmierer said last meeting he had said the estimate for brushing was about $4,125.00 so that’s a big enough project we have to quote it. Board Member Heimlich said he would think we would have to. He said, “The only other thing I was thinking about was that the Co-op has talked to us about a reconstruction on that short stretch through their property between Division Road and the Highway 43, it’s open there. That’s where the open ditch starts, and they’re wanting to put a tile in and close that up. They have property on the north side of that, that is basically unusable now. If there was tile in there and they could drive over it they could develop the north part of their property. That would be a reconstruction. They were kind of working with Todd (Engineer Frauhiger) some on that and I don’t know where that stands right now, I guess that could be separate from this.” Surveyor Sterrett said he told them he could do the fieldwork if they get somebody to engineer it, that’s where it’s at.

Chairman Schmierer said, “I think on the Kleyla Branch we should entertain a motion to have Denny get quotes on the brush and send Isom an invitation to quote on the brush as well as some other people. Then if Isom wants to dig it out after the brush is done on his own he can. I’d entertain a motion to that affect.”

Board Member Ferguson made a motion that we get quotes for the debrushing of the Kleyla Branch of the Esther Fraser Ditch. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Greg Jacobs addressed the Board on the issue of silt traps. Mr. Jacobs stated, “I went back and I read the minutes of August 20, 2001 and it appears that, per discussion with John and George (Loy) and Rick (Raderstorf) that at that meeting it left little question about the agreement that the Snow Ditch does not stop, what we discussed a couple of weeks ago, 800 and some feet south, that the legal description that was signed back in 1987 by the Commissioners states ‘also from station 10+0 along the meanderings of existing ditch to its outlet in Tippecanoe River’. Out of those meetings, the only question that left was where exactly is the Tippecanoe River. If I’m on this Board, although I’m a resident along that, what we know is there are several people that haven’t been assessed. There’s an additional 150 plus acres that are flowing into the Snow Ditch south of Chalmers Road. In addition to that, if I’m wanting to figure out where is the Tippecanoe River, it doesn’t say Lake Freeman, which is surprising to me because Lake Freeman was there at that time. But, if I’m looking for money, which we should be, I would take it to where the actual river bed of the Tippecanoe River lies and that would be east of the, just west of the dam levee.”

Board Member Ferguson said, “Anything below the dam though is Tippecanoe River isn’t it and above that is Lake Freeman?” Mr. Jacobs said, “Right, but below the dam it dumps into what was Lake Freeman at that time, so it either dumps in to me, but I believe the argument can be made that it doesn’t, it goes on past, that ditch winds on past and dumps in well passed me. So we know that we need to get some people on assessment and it is just a matter of where you define that to be. I can’t believe, I guess ignorance is a good reason, and naivete, that I have set for over two years and I dropped the ball on this and didn’t see this thing through back in 2001. But, between 2001 and 2003, and the majority of that is just here in October, I have about 40,000 good reasons why I have to see this through now. Just in silt removal, and I haven’t even cleaned up the silt that is on my property, I have invested at least $22,000.00 in the week and a half the lake was down, and I still have several thousands of yards sitting in my field that I have to take care of. Now, I’m just going to spread it out so that cost will be minimal. I have some pictures for you to look at, that’s just a picture of the field, pictures of the silt that lies in my field now. That’s a picture of the Snow Ditch prior to silt work and that’s some pictures as the silt work was going on. We went a little extra deep, but we have the equivalent of a very small underwater silt trap, just past the culvert that comes into our property. I say very small based on what we’ve experienced, if we don’t do something up north of us with silt traps, we probably will be having the same problem in about two years, maybe three years at the most. It is still extremely expensive trying to clean it out while the water is up, so we have to rely on, the only reason we were able to remediate the silt the way we did, was that the lake was down six to eight feet and we didn’t have to fight the water, we just had to fight the stream that went through. What those pictures show you though, is that we have a serious issue and although I keep referring to the Snow Ditch, I think as Drainage Board Members, we have to take a look at this thing on a County level because this is not just about the Snow Ditch. We are spending, you have the other hat you just took off as Commissioners, I think you are well aware of innkeepers’ tax, 4.4 million dollars that I understand the State has given us. They reduced our last two million dollars request for silt remediation from two million to four hundred thousand and we are going to be out of that money in the Spring. I look at what’s going on and, we’re out here dredging, in the most expensive manner we possibly can, and I haven’t done enough research to know what these silt retention ponds are costing us, but what I do see is what is going to be some of the most unsightly sections of ground that we can ask for and we’re just going to keep on, keep on adding those things or we’re going to get back to square one where this silt problem is. Unfortunately for the people who are draining into these lakes, which is predominantly the farmer, we don’t have the Wabash River, the Tippecanoe River where it goes on down and it’s not affecting anybody. But we now know that this is affecting us and we’ve got to do something and in my opinion, we have to take drastic steps and act quicker and smarter than what I believe that we are really doing. Right now we are out there dredging it while it is still coming in. I honestly believe that the SFLECC is willing to participate off their property that you have jurisdiction on. It only makes sense that the two get together. They need to stop what they’re doing and allocate monies. They have monies but they need to stop dredging and look at how can we control this before it gets to our lakes. I could go on, there’s just several areas that we all know. North of Lowe’s Bridge, south of Lowe’s Bridge a quarter of a mile there’s just one huge silt trap that, as John pointed out at the last meeting when I was here, it isn’t all White County ground, but the number I got was seventy percent of our silt on Lake Shafer is generated from the river up there. That doesn’t mean that we can’t control and capture that upriver, too. 4.4 million dollars goes a long way in fighting this problem. I believe that the State is, in what discussions I’ve had with SFLECC and what IDEM is looking at, and let’s face it money is tight, so we can’t wait for the State and we can’t keep our hand out saying ‘give me more money, give me more money’ especially when we’re not using that, investing that money wisely. The only way we can wisely invest that money is to get out of the lakes and wherever it is practical get upstream in areas where we can take care of this silt, not have to pipe it miles or truck it to some unsightly expensive retention area that Lord knows what we’re going to do with it. There are ways we can look at this thing as an opportunity and reduce our costs. We can select sights like the Snow Ditch, in the area that’s unassessed at this moment, where we wouldn’t have to look at this silt for years. That area lends itself that we could just dig with an excavator, we can do this ten times cheaper than we can do with a dredge. We’ve got to act as quickly as we can and the first thing that we have to do is, we have to recognize, make the analogy of my daytime job is gas stations. I sell gas. Back in the 80’s IDEM decided that our industry, enough was enough, guys you are going to quit polluting the ground without taking the accountability for it. There was no guidelines. So they gave us x amount, very short amount of time, five years notice that we had to upgrade, we had to do certain requirements and if we didn’t meet those requirements we would be out of business. They would make sure that we were closed. So they imposed .8 of a gallon environmental fee, inspection fee is what they called it. You and I pay .8 of a gallon for every gallon of gasoline to the State fund. In addition to that, depending on what level I personally want to do, I can either pay the $25,000.00, $30,000.00 or $35,000.00 as my deductible if I have a problem. Unfortunately I had a problem. I had to write them a $30,000.00 check. So, in addition I pay $250.00 per tank per location as my annual fee. So, I didn’t like that but I had to do it, I had no choice. There was a few people that went out of business, most didn’t. We found a way to absorb it. As I look at what the farmer and landowners are paying, unfortunately it is predominately farmers, it’s just the way it’s always been, but we can’t continue the way it’s always been. 1987, the Snow Ditch reconstruction, 1987, sixteen years this ditch has gone without an increase in their assessment. It has been a $1.00 for sixteen years. The farmer is no different than I, most of them are big business and for me to go sixteen years without having an expense go up, it’s just unheard of. The fact is that we know that silt is an extreme problem and we’ve got to look at what the solution is and to me we’ve got to do a couple of things, we have to look at a silt assessment if you will, so we treat it differently, and we have to have a five or a ten year plan. But we’ve got to start assessing everybody and look at whoever is not being assessed, get them assessed and look at every ditch and find out if we have the same situation as the Snow Ditch has got where we’re not collecting money that we should be. We have to collect more than what we’re collecting. On average the County is somewhere around $3.00. The Snow and Faris, or Lane, Ditch which I bring up because SFLECC tells me that’s another major problem for them. There’s only two problems on Lake Freeman, Snow and Faris, or Lane, which only contribute about sixty square miles whereas Shafer unfortunately has about twelve hundred square miles that is affecting. I know you don’t have control of Hoagland and Honey Creek. Maybe you have some input from a Commissioner’s standpoint. But we have to look at this thing globally as it pertains to White County and come up with a strategic plan to get silt traps out of the water wherever feasible. Where they are in the water, you probably read the article Friday, we’re maybe three years ahead of filling up the underwater silt trap, which how are we going to clean it out? We are going to go in there with expensive dredge. Their budget is about $330,000.00 or $350,000.00 a year including depreciation to operate that dredging operation. We really need to look outside the waters. They need to allocate their budget. They don’t even charge a permit fee for docks and whatnot, they don’t have a fee for, their shorefront license are strictly just to pay their overhead. They need to look at this. I’m going to be meeting with them Wednesday morning. They need to charge a silt assessment fee from every home owner on Lake Freeman and Lake Shafer. They need to charge a…. commercial people that maybe have a bunch of docks or a marina or whatever, we need to pay more. We’ve got to do something different from what we are doing and we need to do it with speed because this is a huge problem. If I’m the State I’m going to be more willing to grant money to a community that is taking action and trying to correct the problem than if not doing it and keep coming back. To me it is painfully obvious that this problem is not going away and it is not going to go away until we capture it upstream. I took several hours this weekend and walked the creek and I even went to every road crossing on the Snow Ditch. It appears to me that the source of our problem is the acreage south of Chalmers Road. (showing pictures) That’s your bridge, I thought you might be interested in how cracked up all that concrete is. I would guess that ninety percent of the problem is south of Chalmers Road in that woods that you can’t see. There is easier access than walking it from my property all the way up the creek bed and I would be happy to take you and show you some of these areas. What I tried to illustrate for you are massive walls of erosion. Where this thing meanders it must take fifty different turns. There is a tremendous amount of floodplain area in there. It’s just amazing the amount of water that must be flowing through this section of woods. What I can see as far as the erosion goes, that’s where all this erosion is. Granted there is some erosion up north of the bridge but there’s only one instance, I can see as I walked some of the ditch I could see you know, at the water line, which we’re never going to get rid of, I could see just a little bit but there was only one section north of Tribbett’s farm where there was maybe a hundred foot swatch of good rich soil that was eroding into the stream. Mainly nontillable ground. It’s just what this water is doing once it gets south of Chalmers Road it is picking up all kinds of silt from the banks. It will be very, I don’t know how costly, it’s going to be a heck of a lot less costly to take care of it in those woods with some step-down silt traps, and I don’t believe, I think it can be done with earth, some tile, we have an engineer that we know is good enough, that is economical, we can’t foot the bill any further. We feel that Snow Ditch …we spent a lot of our own money the last two years to do something that we should be looking to you guys for help on. Let’s take some direction and focus on Snow, Lane and let’s take this thing through one by one, ditch by ditch and correct this silt problem we have on our lakes.”

Board Member Heimlich said, “What you’re proposing is to put in silt traps and assess the farmers or landowners on that ditch for the cost of it.” Mr. Jacobs answered, “Not entirely, I think that in fairness, and I wasn’t aware that this was a public utility, but I’m going to tell you that the benefactors of these ditches are getting one heck of a deal. And as unpopular as this decision is going to be, it’s got to be made. I could probably count on this hand, and my $40.00 worth of copies are downstairs so I could know and I can tell you who the current benefactors are of these two ditches are, but as I looked at the 1987 roll, one of them we spent $1,200.00 in the past two years repairing outlets on the Snow Ditch and these people are all trust money out of Illinois. One of them is a big investor, local business people. But there’s five people really affected and when I look at it, ok, we have 4,300 acres plus or minus, if it was $2.00, if you tripled it to what the average is you’re not going to put anybody out of business. They have to realize that, I want to call it the free life, because that’s what it’s been. This is big business out there and these ditches provide a very necessary service but they are also a serious polluter of our environment, of our lakes. We’re on one side taking this money from the State and I’m telling you that money is going to run out. Why should we wait for IDEM? There’s an article in the paper today, this Wabash, you know the river thing, I don’t know whether you saw it on the front page or not, it’s just ironic you know, Wabash Watershed Preservation. We have two lakes that are our lifeblood to this local economy. This Board, as commissioners, we spent how many years and how many people did we upset sewering the lakes? I think it was the greatest thing we could do. Even though I’m a little disappointed I’m one of 800 people that are the only ones who had to pay the $2,500.00 fee, I’ve got over it and so did everybody else, they got over it. We had to do that to clean our lakes up. Those properties are more important. Who knows we might not have a brown lake, we might have a cleaner lake, the silt is contributing more pollution to it and the discoloration than probably the sewers. But, we don’t have a choice, I think that there’s some things that we can do. We have all this money setting out there, this fund has this, this fund has that, I don’t know if it is legal for you to use it, but I know that the first thing that we need to do is we need to dedicate some dollars to engineering so we can get somebody out there to at least give us an assessment on how it can be accomplished. I really believe that I have studied it enough that I know that these step-down silt traps made out of earth and rip-rap and a little bit of tile will work. I know down in the Snow Ditch area and I know down in Lane (Faris), I went down there, minimal impact to the farmer as far as getting the water out as fast as he can. Maybe at Lane (Faris) one or two tiles that would have to be relocated in the area, but even I doubt that. There’s just a tremendous fall there from Diggs’ property there where it goes down. There really I think are some simple solutions. The toughest one is the decision that you have to make to assess every landowner that benefits from this. The SFLECC needs to do the same thing! Fifty bucks a year is what we pay as a lakefront owner, they need to triple it, too. They roll their eyes, what’s a hundred bucks if a hundred bucks makes a difference between us living on the lakes or not? I know, that’s on top of $660.00 that I’m paying for sewer this year, whatever. We’re not talking about a lot of money on a local (or is he saying global? It sounds like global)…. scale here on an individual basis. And, nobody is going to be for it, but as the Commissioners you’ve got to be for it. As the Drainage Board you gotta recognize that this is a serious problem.”

Board Member Heimlich stated, “Well, as Drainage Board we only have authority to assess according to benefits. Counsel can correct me if I’m wrong. I think it is going to be difficult to assess, just from what you‘ve said, the people that we’re going to be assessing aren’t going to benefit from the silt traps. Other than the small amount that they are a part of the entire County economy. But yet they’re going to be paying for it. Maybe the people that are benefiting the most are not going to be paying for it. I don’t know as we’ve got the authority to assess those people for something like that that is not a benefit to them as far as drainage is concerned.”

Greg Jacobs asked if the drainage ditch is a benefit to them. Board Member Heimlich answered yes. Mr. Jacobs continued, “Obviously there was because, and I don’t know the mindset that went in to coming to the County and asking them to come, I can only surmise, because there’s only two things that I could read, one that it affects a public highway. Lord knows why that needs to be in there other than maybe the State was providing funds for part of that, but as I read through one of these, one of the criteria that seemed to be, needed to be met, was that it needed to positively affect a public highway. I’m not sure if that was State highway or public County road; if it was considered a highway I’m not sure. But, two is that landowner who, I know what their motive is, it’s get my water away from me as fast as I possibly can and as little as it will cost me. Well, the problem is that getting it away as fast as we possibly can in the manner that we came up with back in the 30’s, the teens, whenever they came up with it, is that it is carrying with it pollution. Pollution is costing this County, the White County economy, thanks largely to the State, they’re kicking in, but it’s costing them millions and millions of dollars and we still have, think of the safety issue. But, back to your point, John, this IS the farmers’ problem and they HAVE to take ownership in it, because I would think that without those drainage ditches, and it’s MY problem, too, because I know that if you can’t get your water away as fast as you can your crop production is going to hurt and my cost of food is going to go up, and I understand that it is not just the farmer, but I really think that I have a clear picture of it. Now, how it affects you and what your exact jurisdiction is, I’m not sure, but I do know this much, is the way of doing business as these drainage ditches are concerned, it HAS to be changed.”

Board Member Heimlich stated, “I just know how we have a Hearing, whether it is on the Maintenance or whether this would be maintenance or reconstruction, or what it is, that’s how the whole thing is set up, what your assessments are going to be according to what you are benefit is. And, I can’t see where there is any benefit to the farmer or landowner of this change. George, you can comment on that.”

Attorney Loy stated, “It has to be a unique situation with regards to the Drainage Board jurisdiction, I’m not aware of any, I’ll research it, but I’m not aware of any cases to address this situation. I am personally sympathetic to what you are talking about; I understand what you’re talking about. John is right in that assessing the landowners for the silt traps, and I have no idea what the cost is, and I want you to tell them that if you know, it would have to be considered a benefit to the landowners for the silt traps to be installed, and I guess your response is, ‘Well, it is a benefit because their silt is being removed from their own land and that’s part of drainage’ I guess. It would stretch the Drainage Board’s jurisdiction further than they have ever gone before, and that’s not to say that it can or can’t be done.” Chairman Schmierer asked if all these drains were set up as court drains. Attorney Loy stated they were called court drains in the old days. Chairman Schmierer said they did that when they had farmers that wouldn’t cooperate…..inaudible….Board Member Heimlich said, “The other reason, you mention the reason for these drains, probably the major reason now and probably back then, too, there was a group of people who wanted the drainage, but there were people who were going to benefit from it, too, that may say ‘I’m not going to pay for it’ and we get that every day on these drains. The reason for us as a Board to have control of these drains is to make sure that everybody pays what they are supposed to be paying. They could do a reconstruction on their own and some do sometimes they get together and say we’re not going to go through the petition and it takes too long for the Hearings and everything, we’ll do it on our own. They can do that. But, there may be some people that end up not paying. We can’t force that if they do it outside the jurisdiction of our Board, that’s one of the reasons for the County Drainage Board to have control of those drains. Groups would come and say ‘we want the County to take this over so that everybody is going to pay their fair share; nobody is going to welch out’.

Greg Jacobs said, “Again I’m not sure, I know it probably goes away from what you are used to working with, and I don’t know what you can or can’t do, I just know that if you CAN’T, then you need to answer the question, ‘how CAN you’. I don’t think that the landowners should pay for a hundred percent of these silt trap constructions. One of the biggest things that you asked me was who was going to be responsible for the maintenance, and I told you that the Snow Ditch was, and if that’s what it took, I would be. I’m not as willing to continue to spend my money, which believe me, after pumping nearly forty thousand dollars in two years; it is quickly running out as far as my silt budget. But, the SFLECC is I honestly believe is very willing to participate. Think of how much $330,000.00 would go towards operating an excavator and a dump truck, if that was the feasible way to do it. Think of staying in business with a dredge, an excavator and a dump truck and a couple of guys can do an awful lot of silt maintenance. So, one thing that we know, their dredge maintenance is never going to end the way we’re doing business. If we stop and get silt traps up there, it will get rid of the dredge in whatever, five years, hopefully not that….inaudible….”

Board Member Heimlich stated, “I disagree with you there, I don’t think you are ever going to get rid of that dredge.” Mr. Jacobs said, “Well, you’ll use it very minimal.” Board Member Heimlich said, “You yourself said seventy percent of it is coming from north of White County.” Mr. Jacobs said, “But John, if we talk to our local State representatives, you know, I don’t see it as a insurmountable problem, I see it as a challenge that we could create, we could take these silt traps, and I had I think a finished picture for you that was just the bay back-filled up. That’s a silt trap, and that’s a silt trap that we can do. The only difference is the silt traps that we’re going to do upstream is they’re going to have a valve and we’re going to be able to drain that valve at low stream and we’re going to drain that silt trap. We’re going to give it a couple of days and we’re going to roll in there with an excavator and we’re going to dig the silt that we can see that isn’t full of water and if we put them where they should be, and I understand that DNR is very against filling ravines and hopefully at some point they will understand there’s a trade-off here, but there’s an awful lot of ravines out there that are getting filled in. But if we did them strategically, like the Snow Ditch offers, if we have one at a hundred and fifty feet, I’m telling you we won’t be talking about where to put the silt for the next fifteen years, maybe twenty years. We are already buying the land, through the SFLECC, they’re out there buying God knows how many acres, they’ve got at the end of Tippecanoe Fairway Subdivision they’ve got some sitting there to clean that out of Kean’s Bay. We are spending enormous sums of money collectively, more so from the SFLECC right now it causes tax payers to use this 4.4 million dollars. We just have to get smarter. We have to spend that money smarter. So I am saying that I believe that the money they’re already spending, that they will as a Board, and it just amazes me that this discussion hasn’t been, that they’re not here every Drainage Board to work with this, but they’re not, but it just amazes me that we’re not collectively working as a group here to correct this problem. And, I think that we can do that, but I think what we CAN’T do is sit back and go searching for grant money before we take care of our own back yard. We have to prove to the State that we are willing to do that and then I believe that, and I don’t think it is going to be huge sums of money and, define huge you know, but we’re already spending it. They’re going to be out of State money in the Spring if we don’t get another fund, now they say they have a fund, I don’t know how much that is, but they say they have enough to keep going all next year. I don’t know where they got the money since their operating budget just pays for their overhead in their little office. But, they say that they can operate their dredges through next year without any more…inaudible… In the Spring the State money will be gone. Well, we need to act and I don’t know the legalities of it, I just know that as Commissioners and as Drainage Board Members there’s got to be a way and we just need to come together and do whatever we possibly can to get started on it and truly not stop until we have trapped every drain in this County that is affecting us. But, back to your question about the seventy percent, I’m not an excavator but everybody that’s gone out there and worked for me has done it on time and material. That’s because I am supervising it every day. But, I would love to just imagine what I could do with just a couple of million dollars and equipment, but I’m sure that there’s, and I’ve not gone up and surveyed north of the district, I was amazed at how much ground, and I don’t know how much we’re collecting up there in White County where Pulaski County comes in. But so what if we had to go up there and buy a hundred acres, we’re already buying it through the SFLECC and I don’t know, I’m not an engineer but I KNOW that we could go up there and build one heck of an earth dam with emergency overflows and we could do a heck of a lot of work with two million dollars and we could capture that silt up there. And we could get back Lake Freeman (that is Lake Shafer there) from about a half a mile south of Lowe’s Bridge all the way up to probably half a mile north of it right now that is just one huge silt trap that is rendering it useless, causing increased traffic with boats because they have a lesser area to chose to play in. It is possible to do this and if that’s what we have to do, if that’s going to be a bigger one, but it isn’t the primary source, that’s Lowe’s Bridge, we can identify where that silt is. That doesn’t have anything to do with, I think it’s Kean’s Bay or Honey Creek there where you take the right past the golf course and you go down there to the left of that bridge and you see all the boats to the right, always on that sandbar out there. That’s the underwater silt trap right now that we’ve got. We can go on the left side of that bay, capture most of that, create something where we can go in and clean it out. But, there are ways, as big as those ditches are up there, there are ways to control this, and very economically compared to the way we are doing it now. The sad thing is, we’re not controlling it now. We’re burning money. The best thing we can do is stop those dredges, not invest one more nickel in those things and not buy any more land. Sell the land that hasn’t been developed with those detention ponds and focus on these silt traps. That’s the best thing we can do right now.”

Chairman Schmierer asked, “You have a meeting with the SFLECC?” Greg Jacobs answered, “Yes, they’re not as generous as you, I have ten short minutes. But I am meeting with them and I’m going to meet with Buzz Horton, simply because he is north of there. I want to get it from a farmer’s perspective, I know he’s a County Councilman, but I’m not for unreasonably inflicting expenses on anybody.”

Chairman Schmierer said, “Well we are going to have to move on, too, but we’ll take it under advice and keep working and see what we can come up with. But, I think you are going to have to work with SFLECC on a bunch of this and if they want to work with us they’re going to have to come to us.”

Board Member Heimlich asked, “The question I had, the silt removal that you did here, did you have to get permits for that?” Mr. Jacobs answered, “I didn’t, I’m not sure.” Board Member Heimlich said, “That’s what I thought. I don’t ask that for the records or anything, but I do know that the SFLECC does have to, and I know if you do this on a, government does this on a larger scale, you’re going to have to have permits and you’re going to have the agencies involved in it. So you’re going to have a little more expense than what you had.” Mr. Jacobs said, “And I challenge them to come up with a way, how can you use your fund through the private on a smaller scale because this bureaucratic red tape, taking two years to get a permit, is ridiculous. I know that there is a way around this, now I want to know how you can legally spend your money.”

Board Member Heimlich stated, “I’m on a ditch Board north of here that it has taken four years to get permits.” Mr. Jacobs said, “You know, I think that once we get, once it’s done though, we don’t have this problem you know to do. CAN I GET PERMISSION TO WORK IN THE 150 FOOT RIGHT-OF-WAY THAT YOU’VE GOT SOUTH OF CHALMERS ROAD?”

Chairman Schmierer answered, “I don’t know, can we give that permission, George?” Attorney Loy answered, “I guess it would be no different than allowing some…., are you going on someone else’s land? That’s a problem.” Chairman Schmierer said, “That’s a problem, that’s what I’m afraid of.” Attorney Loy said, “Without their permission.”

Mr. Jacobs said, “I would ask you to accept liability for the silt that continues to come into my property. I know that over the next six months it’s going to be minimal, but just as soon as the Spring rains….I believe that the legal description says where it’s at, I want you to put me on the assessment roll, you don’t have to have a hearing to do it, I need to start paying for it, I’m telling you to put me on the assessment roll, I have thirty some acres that drains into this, it comes through there and we need to get, we need to do something. I would ask you, I don’t know how far it goes, I understand you reimburse people for doing work on their portion of the ditch, I didn’t start this with any hope of getting any money, but the more I thought about it and I realized I am accepting the responsibility for a problem that isn’t mine entirely. I need help and I think that I am due some. I’ve got to spend some money to spread this silt out and it didn’t come from me, and I would appreciate consideration toward that, and anything that you can contribute towards what I did in October.”

Chairman Schmierer stated, “We’ll take that under consideration and discuss it. We’ll have to discuss it with Counsel, too.”

James Sharp asked if SFLECC has the authority to go back up these drains to install silt traps and such. Board Member Heimlich said they have installed traps at the mouth, where they’ve installed them is not actually in the lake; it is in the ditch, I’m not sure how far. Chairman Schmierer said they can only go so many feet, I’m not sure of their jurisdiction, but I think one hundred feet. James Sharp said, “So to put silt traps back up these drains, you would have to have someone else with authority to do it, rather than SFLECC.” Chairman Schmierer answered, “Yes, and I don’t know who’s got the authority, I’m not sure we have the authority.” Attorney Loy stated, “Unless they’re willing to come to us and pay for it, that’s worth discussing.” Board Member Ferguson stated that some of those ditches are not controlled all the way to the lake.

Board Member Heimlich stated, “On that Big Monon project, part of the project is a silt trap where it empties into the, well, what’s the road up there just off of SR 16 where that comes in there crooked, and there’s an area there that is designed right off of that road for a silt trap. But that is part of the project.”

Greg Jacobs said, “According to Buzz Horton I think they own, he was telling me that N.I.P.S.C.O. used to own it, but they do now. He said that it goes way up towards Buzz Horton’s property, the SFLECC. But according to them, at this point they don’t have anything that’s on their property, everything is on SFLECC property. They have a hundred foot leave-way according to them.”

Board Member Heimlich said, “I believe that is becoming more common especially on the bigger ditches where the regulatory agencies get involved, that they WILL require a silt trap at the mouth.” Surveyor Sterrett asked if they have more than one. Board Member Heimlich said at one time they had them at every crossing and some of those weren’t going to be very accessible and it really wasn’t feasible as far as the maintenance of them. He said there will be a large one right where it (Big Monon) comes into the lake (Shafer).

Greg Jacobs said, “I think when people hear ‘silt trap’ they think eyesore or maintenance. We know what eyesore looks like with our silt retention pond. But, if you don’t….look at Munger Park, a perfect example. Munger Park on Union Street next to the Cinergy transfer station there. They built that to drain the area where Target Super Center is. There’s a really beautiful example of how they took a drainage problem and they created a beautiful park. On past the waterway on the other side you see brown grass, but there’s opportunity here, these can be beautiful park areas. You know, not slow down the water and eyesores are what we got now. There’s an opportunity to have small parks if you will, or the landowner to have …inaudible… So it really isn’t as negative as it sounds.”

Board Member Ferguson made a motion to approve the minutes of the last meeting. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried.

The Board signed the documents for the Maintenance Modification of the Earl A. Diener Drain.

Board Member Heimlich asked Mr. Jacobs if he knew how many landowners are on the Snow Ditch on the assessment roll. Mr. Jacobs did not. He thought about 5 or 6 large landowners. Surveyor Sterrett said there’s 21 pages of assessment roll with 9 on each page.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that Lloyd Kyburz has requested the removal of several trees on Branch 1 of the McKillip Drain. The trees are uprooted and blown down. Surveyor Sterrett went and looked at it. The trees are not in the ditch; they’re on the side and out into his field. They are in our right-of-way. The problem is, we have a petition on about 6,000 feet south of there, south of CR 400 North, to have that cleaned. Right now there is $2,600.00 in the fund and takes in $1,700.00 a year. We haven’t had a draw yet this year so there will be $4,300.00 in the fund. We were going to try to do the dipping out on maintenance. Surveyor Sterrett asked the Board what to do about the trees since the fund would be short. There’s about 1,800 feet, there’s about 50 trees that are blown over but you might as well take all the brush off. The Board agreed that we need to go ahead and get some quotes and get the trees off.

Board Member Heimlich reported that Roger Wiese asked him if the Board discussed the bridge (farm crossing) situation any further as to what we are going to do and how we are going to handle it. Chairman Schmierer said, “I thought we agreed we would put it in and he would pay for it.” Chairman Heimlich said, “We talked about that, but did we actually….” Attorney Loy said, “I asked Don Ward (Engineer) to get me name and number of the individual from DNR that is making the claim and he’s gotten me that name and number but I haven’t talked to them.” Board Member Heimlich said, “We haven’t officially (decided) because we have that other bridge from Dunbar out there, too.” Surveyor Sterrett reported that Todd Frauhiger (Engineer) took Don Ward’s figures with him to see if we really wanted to put one single tank car in there or not, and he hasn’t got back with us yet. He wasn’t sure if we wanted to do that or not. Attorney Loy said, “He did give me the DNR regs which are not in the Drainage Code that at least reports to say that they do have jurisdiction.” Attorney Loy agreed to research it for the Board. Surveyor Sterrett said Todd should have a report on it, too. He said Todd wasn’t sure that it wouldn’t back the water up.

The Board and Secretary Kiser discussed charges for West Side Commercial Subdivision and Hubbard’s. See tape. Secretary Kiser reported that Hubbard’s secretary reports that Mr. Hubbard says they have started the project.

Chairman Schmierer adjourned the meeting.